When Less Is Much More: Kids and Toys

In our culture of consumerism and being early adopters of technology, sometimes it seems as though we need this, that and the other thing, and that our kids need every toy available on the market. It can seem as though there is a never end cycle of buying the newest toy, the toy that your child's friend got for the holidays, the toy that is all the rage. However, having piles and piles of plastic toys can actually be over stimulating for children, and can impede their learning process. Rather, Montessori Teacher Marcy Hogan suggests that you focus on quality over quantity, providing your child(ren) with fewer toys, but ones that allow for more play/work options, as well as that will last longer. Better yet, if you're able to put them out on shelves (mimicking the classroom setting) rather than jumbled together in a toy bin, your child(ren) will be able to see all of the available items and make choices as to which one interests them the most at this point in time. Below is an excerpt from her article on MariaMontessori.com. I’ve never been a big fan of toy boxes. They seem messy, and as if they’re designed for toys to get lost and/or broken in them. It’s hard to teach children to be careful of their toys when the way to put them away is toss them into a box with a bunch of other stuff. So when we started thinking about how to set up our son’s room and how to store/display his toys, I knew I didn’t want a toy box.

Instead, I wanted to set up his room as if it were his own private Montessori classroom. Which means, rather than toys being hidden away in a toy box somewhere, I wanted to find a low shelf to hold and display his toys so he could easily see them and where each toy would have its own specific place. I spent a good bit of time searching for such a shelf, and we eventually settled on what’s meant as an entertainment center from Ikea. It’s low to the ground making it easy for him to take them off the shelf and put them back independently. The fact that he can see the toys neatly arranged on the shelf makes them more inviting (they don’t get “forgotten” at the bottom of a box), and the fact that they each have a specific place encourages him to put them back in that spot when he’s done playing... Click the following link to read the rest of the Toys for Children: Less Is More article.